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New York Spotlight: August 2009

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Jonathan Groff
(© Joseph Marzullo/WENN)
Tony Award nominee Jonathan Groff stars as Dionysus in the Shakespeare in the Park production of The Bacchae (Delacorte Theater, August 11-30). Joanne Akalaitis directs a reimagined interpretation of Euripides' play, featuring a choral score by Philip Glass. The cast also features George Bartenieff, André De Shields, Karen Kandel, Joan MacIntosh, Steven Rishard, and Rocco Sisto.

Playwrights Horizons gets an early start on its 2009-2010 season with Daniel Goldfarb's The Retributionists, to be directed by Leigh Silverman (August 21-September 27). Based on a true story, the piece concerns a group of young Jewish freedom fighters who attempt to avenge society's wrongs. The cast includes Adam Driver, Margarita Levieva, Cristin Milioti, Adam Rothenberg, Hamilton Clancy, Rebecca Henderson, and Lusia Strus.

Real-life couple Jordan Baker and Kevin Kilner will star in Is Life Worth Living? (Mint Theater, August 19-October 11), a comedy by Lennox Robinson that focuses on a pair of married actors heading up a troupe of traveling players in Ireland. Meanwhile, Irish Rep serves up a double bill of one-act plays by Cónal Creedon, After Luke and When I Was God (through September 20). Both plays explore the fragile world of father/son relationships in contemporary Ireland.

August in New York City theater circles is synonymous with the New York International Fringe Festival (August 14-30), which is now in its 13th year. As usual, the Fringe has lured a number of Broadway notables downtown, including Tony Award winner Wilson Jermaine Heredia in Tales from the Tunnel; Deidre Goodwin, Bailey Hanks, and Morgan Karr in Vote!; Natascia Diaz and Jim Stanek in Two on the Aisle, Three in a Van; Nick Adams and Spencer Liff in Far Out; Kristy Cates and Steven Stafford in For the Love of Christ; and Colin Hanlon in How Now, Dow Jones.

The Fringe is also the perfect opportunity to venture outside your comfort zone and take in some shows you might never see otherwise. Some of the more intriguing titles include America's Next Top Bottom: Cycle 5!, Don't Be Scared! It's Only A Play, I Can Has Cheezburger: The MusicLOL!, Sex and the Holy Land, and Spermalot: The Musical.

Among the other notable productions this month is the return of Puppetry of the Penis (Bleecker Street Theater, August 4-30), featuring two men who perform "genital origami" -- and yes, the show delivers exactly what the title promises. Charles Mee's Coney Island Avenue, which will receive its world premiere at New York Theater Workshop's 4th Street Theater (August 5-16), is a look into the varied lives and every day struggles of the dynamic and diverse population of present-day Brooklyn, and includes spoken word, film, live and recorded music, and dance. Finally, Seth Rudetsky will share backstage stories in Seth's Broadway 101 (Ars Nova, August 2-30), backed up by an all-singing, all-dancing ensemble.

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